Tuna Casserole (A Home Cooked Memory)
Food can cause of flood of so many memories. At soon-to-be 42 years old, I have done a lot of living and I hope to have a lot more living ahead of me. Recently, I had a meal that took me back to when I was in Kindergarten.
The pre-school I attended provided breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. Back when I was in pre-school and kindergarten, the cafeteria lady cooked full wholesome meals from scratch. Nowadays, our children are provided “that frozen stuff”; but that is blog for another day.
The problem with me as a child, was that I was a really picky eater. I have improved over the years (Thanks, Jan McCallum!) and have been more open, and actually look forward to trying new things. This wasn’t so for the 4 and 5 year old Tameka (it wasn’t so for the 20 and 30 year old Tameka either…but that is also another blog 😊 ). The young Tameka still made her mother jump through hoops to make sure I had something to eat for lunch. That is kind of hard when you refuse to eat cold cuts or anything cold. Though my school always provided a hot meal, I had an entirely different list of why I wouldn’t eat the hot meals provided. If they made spaghetti with meat sauce, I wouldn’t eat it because I only ate spaghetti with meatballs and the sauce would have to be on the side. That is just one example of how difficult of a child I was.
There was one meal, however, that I would look forward to having. There was only one meal that I would ask the cafeteria lady specifically when they would be making it. That meal was Tuna Casserole, or as I would say it back then “toooooohna macaroni” (because they used elbow noodles in the casserole). Tuna casserole days were always great days in my book. That was the lunch of second helpings. It was also a meal no one in my family ever made. Everything home was soul food. I could only get tuna casserole when I went to school. Needless to say, I had to graduate from kindergarten one day and toooooohna casserole came to an end – but I would never forget how it made me feel.
Over the past four decades, I can count the times I had tuna casserole on one hand (with an extra finger or two 😊). They were always special moments. They were always when I was visiting a special friend. I haven’t had tuna casserole for years. A few weeks ago while finalizing details for a live event, I was asked by the host what I would like to eat for supper when I arrive. I was asked if I would like Tuna (It wasn’t just plain old tuna. It was a tuna mix and warm crescent rolls, etc). Well… y’all know I don’t care for cold food. I also don’t like mayonnaise. I do, however, eat dry tuna straight from the can. I told that to the host and said I was happy to eat dry tuna with the crescent rolls. She gasped. She said “I can’t feed you dry tuna!!!” I nearly fell on the floor laughing. Then she said, “Do you like tuna casserole?” All of a sudden the heavens opened up and the sun started shining and all of those fond memories came flooding back. Just then I told her how exciting that would be to have and I told her why. This wonderful person who brought back so many fond memories was Kathy Gordon, Senior Executive Ambassador for Forever.
Fast forward a few weeks. I arrive at Kathy’s house and tuna casserole was on its way. She was cooking, being a hostess and working her business at the same time. We caught up on life while she grated cheese and strained the noodles. Kathy, Carol and I made new memories and shared life stories as the scent of the tuna casserole filled the kitchen where we had our laptops stationed. It wasn’t long before the perfect meal was on the table. Once again, I experienced the meal of second helpings. I made new memories, and tuna casserole continues to be a the meal of great days and great memories. (I won't begin to discuss the memories after seeing the pattern on Kathy's Corningware bowl.)
I was busy enjoying the moment while Kathy was cooking, so I don’t have pictures of the process, but I still see Kathy busily going from stove top to fridge to oven to counter top as she created a special meal just for me. Thank you so much Kathy for such a special day. What are some of your home cooked memories?
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